I have already mentioned that my husband has this thing about making ribs on Father’s Day. And, honestly, as the father of seven kids, if he wants to make ribs once a year, let him. I don’t particularly care for ribs and that does not matter in the slightest because not only is it “his day” (please, people, you and I both know that father’s day is more work for dads than the average Sunday) but also because he cooks them. Perfect. I’ll have bread for dinner.
This year, Rob rocked some ribs. Rocked. For, like, four hours. He even improvised a rack for the grill. The recipe that Rob used for the ribs came from Kevin Gillespie’s Fire in My Belly. Slow cooked ribs with chile-lime butter. Page 215. You need to try these.
I have sung the praises of this cookbook a few times. What I love about this cookbook is not only that the recipes are twists on the traditional, but I love the stories that Kevin Gillespie tells with each recipe. I also love that Gillespie cooks like a southerner but with fresh, local ingredients like a European (or a Portlander – is that a word? What do you call a person from Portland? A PDXer?). Every recipe that we have tried from this cookbook has been amazing. As a non-rib eater who actually ate ribs on Sunday, I can say that these ribs were outstanding.
The ribs are seasoned with a salt and pepper, then slow cooked on a rack for a few hours and basted with a mixture of honey and beer. We’ve made ribs before that have required boiling before grilling. This method was slightly simpler but just as time consuming. Ribs done well do take time. If you are looking for an unconventional dinner party, this might be your pick. Or a family get-together. Or Fourth of July. Once they’ve cooked for the first bit, the ribs are tossed in a chile-lime butter (butter, lime zest, lime juice, garlic, scallions, and chile paste), then grilled again for a few minutes on a hot grill to give the final ribs a bit of char. I thought this sounded weird. I was totally wrong.
Not knowing that Rob was going to go all out on the ribs, I decided that we needed to try some barbequed chicken also. I’ve had a hankering for the kind of barbeque chicken that my grandfather used to make. He used to start his chicken early in the day and grill it for what seemed like forever. In foil. This is all I remember about how Pa Pa made chicken. That it took forever and was in foil. And that we were willing to withstand the mosquitos of Louisiana summer to hang outside with him while it cooked. How I wish I had learned to make that chicken while Pa Pa was alive.
I chose to give Ina Garten’s recipe for barbeque chicken a try. She has never steered me wrong. I literally woke up in a panic on Sunday morning because I had not made the barbeque sauce and had not started the chicken marinating the night before. I started the sauce at 7:30 on Sunday morning because I thought we were trying to eat for about 1 p.m. Yikes. This barbeque sauce is not for the feint at heart. Unlike most of Ina Garten’s recipes, this sauce calls for lots of ingredients. Fortunately, all of them were already in my pantry. It does take at least 45 minutes to make the sauce, and the chicken should marinate in the sauce for at least a few hours or overnight. This recipe makes a TON of barbeque sauce. I marinated three chicken breasts and four thighs, had plenty enough for basting, plus froze about another two cups of sauce.
I love that my kids are willing to stick their fingers into unknown sauces and give them a taste test. One of my boys is a bit of a barbeque junky. Loves the stuff. He also loves hot sauce, but that’s another story for another time. My barbeque kid was all over trying this homemade barbeque sauce. I was a bit concerned because he didn’t immediately give it a thumbs up. Not to worry, he judged the sauce delicious. He was just trying to ascertain what flavors he could pick out. Really. This is why we cook with our kids.
Rob cooked the chicken on a gas grill (the recipe uses charcoal) for about forty-five minutes at 300°. Meanwhile, I made a potato salad with a nice mustard vinaigrette. I love a potato salad with no mayonaise. Especially if it has broccoli and artichoke hearts. Yum.
The chicken was outstanding. As close as I am going to get to Pa Pa’s chicken. The boys were fighting over the last piece (which went to their sister, of course). I am so glad that I have more sauce in the freezer. We will be making this chicken again later in the summer.